i made sure to check the living room this morning when i woke up at 8:30. sure enough, there was my roommate, working on her laptop. she said she'd been up since 6:30, and would've already gone to work except her advisor told her he'd come by and pick her up (he didn't say when though). i let her borrow my cellphone so she could call and let him know that she was going to the office on her own.

it must be a monday thing: 3 different clients contacted me today: client P wanted me to check over some videos, right after i finally sent them an invoice (looks like i will get paid after all); client N asked if i could upload an OS X version of an old interactive; and client S got in touch with me in the evening about a mysterious bug that surfaced on one of their products i did some work on a while back.

first i had to deal with client P. they wanted to upload a gigabyte worth of videos for me to download. i suggested they just send me files on a dvd. they said they'd mail it. i told them i'd just swing by and pick it up. so i raced down to cambridgeport on my bicycle after downing a yogurt for breakfast, part of my morning exercise regimen.

coming back, i cut across the cambridge library and stopped by a rite aid to look for a syringe. i ended up asking the pharmacist. "syringes? yes, we sell them by the box. what is this for? like for insulin shots?" trying not to act suspicious, i told her it was actually for gardening, for injecting insecticide into some squash vines. having never bought syringes before, i was surprised it was even possible. all they asked was i show some id, but even when i did, they never bothered looking (just a formality, unlike when you buy cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine when they actually scan your driver's license). they even sold them individually, so i wouldn't have to buy a whole box. she asked for the size, i said which ever one has the biggest gauge, with a 3ml capacity. it cost me something like $2.

with needle in hand, i returned home, grabbed my stuff, and biked to belmont to lay waste to squash vine boring invaders. actually, i took a shower first, but it was kind of pointless since i continued wearing my sweat-soaked clothes. i just didn't feel as hot, not until i arrived in belmont, where i took another cooling shower, but once again, returned to wearing my sweat-soaked clothes.

i whipped up a solution of Bt, a teaspoon of thuricide mixed with a cup of water, shaken in a grey poupon jar. i felt like a mad scientist, injecting the squash stems. it was easier said than done. sometimes i'd puncture the stem all the way through, and more often than not, the needle hole would be plugged by plant wall pulp upon insertion, or maybe i'd injected into a non-hollow part of the vine. even when i was successful, some of the liquid would squirt out when i removed the needle because of the pressure build-up. liquid would also squirt out from previous puncture holes, or from unforeseen bore holes. this is what they must teach you at nursing and medical school. i stopped after half an hour, not sure if any of the squashes will survive. at least i tried. next year i'll be ready.

in the afternoon i went with my father to home depot. we spent an hour there researching raised garden bed materials, even stopped to admire a neighbor's raised beds along the way. we also got some stuff for repainting the bathroom - some mildew remover and some white mildew-covering paint. i picked up a container of liquid copper fungicide.

back in the garden, it was fungicide spraying time. i mixed up a solution, half a teaspoon of liquid copper (deep blue colored) to one pint of water. i ended up making two applications, firing away with my hand sprayer. last summer i tried a sulfur-based fungicide that didn't seem to eradicate the powdery mildew. hopefully i'll have better success with copper.

my father fixed the burst gardening hose. later, using branches and leftover scraps of wood, he laid out a possible arrangement for our future raised beds. a total of 4 beds, 10 inches high, 8 feet long, and possibly 3-4 feet wide. there are all sorts of advantages: better soil condition, less weeding, move the garden away from the house (we might edge with more perennial plants), and more sun exposure. having a large backyard seems like a waste when we can covert more of it into edible vegetable garden spaces.

my parents spent the bulk of their day off cleaning the house. my mother scrubbed the mildew off of the bathroom ceiling above the tub. the result was so good that we won't need to paint the bathroom walls after all. my father tossed out an old epson 740 printer and 2 more late model PC's (after stripping them of all usable parts). later we saw some mexicans driving around in a pickup take the computers from the curb, to add to their collection of scrap metals (to be sold for profit).

i returned home by around 7:30. i took a quick shower before finding my roommate in the kitchen making dinner. we chatted briefly about her day, as i nervously watched her stir the boiling pot of pasta with a metal fork. that's going to leave a mark. but most of my pots and pans have already been scratched to hell from past china roommates, what's a few more scratches? next time i'll ask her to use a wooden utensil for stirring.

i thought it was strange that it was taking her so long to make dinner. turns out she messed up how long you're supposed to cook pasta and ended up boiling for half an hour, turning the noodles into a slurpy mess. while she ate in the living room we chatted some more. i found out her father's a retired doctor. she thinks french people are lazy (too many vacation days, everything closed on sundays) when compared to the chinese, who technically are only supposed to work 40 hours a week, but there's overwhelming pressure to work extra hours for free, only because there's zero job security and a company can easily find a hundred more willing and able workers to do the same job with less complaining.

i asked my roommate this morning when she usually goes to bed back home in shanghai. she said she wakes up at 7:00 and goes to sleep by 11:00. and like clockwork, that's exactly when she went to bed tonight, leaving me alone in the living room trying to stay cool without resorting to the air conditioner.